It’s okay if you don’t know what you’re going to be

Going to a Christian university is like a double whammy for your mental health. Not only are students contending with the incessant inquiry as to what they want to do for the rest of their lives before they even know themselves, but they also are constantly face-to-face with the daunting word calling.

I guess you could say the very act of going to college should have necessitated some thoughtful introspection, but really it’s so we can bide our time. Otherwise, we’d just have to know the impossible sooner. 

According to The National Center for Education Statistics, 30% of undergraduate students who declared a major will change it at least once. One in 10 will change it more than once. Does that make 18 to 22-year-olds generally indecisive or wishwashy? No, it doesn’t. I’ll show you why.

Neurodevelopment is extremely complex, and not consistent in its intensity. 

According to a November 2020 article published on by Jaimar Tuarez titled “When does the brain stop developing?”, although the brain reaches relatively full maturation around age 25, parts of the brain such as the frontal lobe do not complete development until a human is, “halfway through the third decade of life.”

Our prefrontal cortexes, the areas of our brains capable of long-term planning and risk management, are not fully developed until 25-years-old. 

It comes as no surprise then, that as we begin to live life on our own, exploring different subject matters, and gaining life experience, that our desires will change. Scientifically, we just haven’t gotten to the point of being able to clearly map out our futures. 

This means we have to learn to do something I know very few college students can do well– relax.

So let’s go back to that word thrown around frequently in the Christian atmosphere. Do you remember that chapter in Hebrews some like to call the hall of faith chapter? In Hebrews 11, the author lists several biblical names that embody success in faith and in their callings (Gideon, Samuel, David, Abraham, Sarah, etc.). 

I find deepest solace in the author’s veneration of Moses. He had a traumatic childhood, had a sense of what he wanted to do (save his people) but absolutely no idea how to go about it. He tried a couple things that didn’t work, did a different job for quite some time, but eventually was able to fulfill his deepest longings.

His calling was in no way a linear, shiny five-year plan yet he pleased God deeply. He accomplished his dreams.

The next time someone asks you what you want to be, or where you’re going to go and you don’t have an answer– breathe, it’s ok. You have plenty of time. Take life in stride, you’ll know when you need to. 

Interested in some fun facts? According to Tuarez here is when our brains are at their highest capability for certain functioning: 

  1. Memory: 18 years old
  2. Learning unfamiliar names: 22 years old
  3. Facial recognition ability: 32 years old
  4. Concentration abilities: 43 years old
  5. Basic arithmetic: 50 years old
  6. Understand new information: 50 years old
  7. Vocabulary skills: 67 years old